Rorate Caeli

A Melkite Catholic nun on what is really happening in Syria

An article from the Irish Times:

Media coverage of Syrian violence partial and untrue, says nun 

PATSY McGARRY, Religious Affairs Correspondent 

A NUN who has been superior at a Syrian monastery for the past 18 years has warned that media coverage of ongoing violence in that country has been “partial and untrue”. It is “a fake”, Mother Agnes Mariam said, which “hides atrocities committed in the name of liberty and democracy”. 

Superior of the Melkite Greek Catholic monastery of St James the Mutilated in Qara, in Syria’s diocese of Homs, which is in full communion with Rome, she left Ireland yesterday after a three-day visit during which she met representatives of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference in Maynooth. 

She told The Irish Times she was in Ireland “not to advocate for the (Assad) regime but for the facts”. Most news reports from Syria were “forged, with only one side emphasised”, she said. This also applied to the UN, whose reports were “one-sided and not worthy of that organisation”. 

UN observers in Syria had been “moderate with the rebels and covered for them in taking back positions after the withdrawal of heavy equipment, as seen so tragically in Homs”, she said. 

When it was put to her this suggested the whole world was out of step except for Syria, Russia and China, she protested: “No, no, there are 20 countries, including some in Latin America” of the same view. 

The reason the media was being denied easy access to Syria currently was because in the Libyan conflict journalists placed electronic devices for Nato in rooms used at press conferences in that country, she said. “So Syria didn’t want journalists,” she said. 

Christians make up about 10 per cent of Syria’s population, dispersed throughout the country, she said. The Assad regime “does not favour Christians”, she said. “It is a secular regime based on equality for all, even though in the constitution it says the Koran is the source of legislation.” 

But “Christians are less put aside [in Syria] than in other Islamic countries, for example Saudi Arabia,” she said. “The social fabric of Syria is very diverse, so Christians live in peace.” 

The “Arab insurrection” under way in that country included “sectarian factions which promote fundamentalist Islam, which is not genuine Islam”, she said. 

 The majority of Muslims in Syria are moderate and open to other cultural and interfaith elements, she said. “Wahhabism (a fundamentalist branch of Islam) is not open,” she added. 

Christians in Syria were “doubtful about the future if the project to topple the regime succeeded”. The alternative was “a religious sectarian state where all minorities would feel threatened and discriminated against”, she said. 

There was “a need to end the violence”, she said. “The West and Gulf states must not give finance to armed insurrectionists who are sectarian terrorists, most of whom are from al-Qaeda, according to a report presented to the German parliament,” she said. 

“We don’t want to be invaded, as in Aleppo, by mercenaries, some of whom think they are fighting Israel. They bring terror, destruction, fear and nobody protects the civilians,” she said. There were “very few Syrians among the rebels”, she said. “Mercenaries should go home,” she said. 

What she and others sought in Syria was “reform, no violence, no foreign intervention.” She hoped for “a new, third way, a new social pact where the right to autodetermination without outside interference” would be respected.


Knight of Malta said...

Americanist intervention in places such as Iraq and Egypt has worked really well for Christians, hasn't it?

P.K.T.P. said...

If the Western media favours something, one knows that, to be Catholic, one must oppose it.

As for this so-called Arab Spring, notice how, in each country, people are rebelling merely because other Arabs rebelled in other countries. Obviously, Assad is not a good man but there does not seem to be a pressing need to rebel against him at this particular time, as opposed to other times. What did we get in Egypt? The Muslim Brotherhood. What is coming in Libya? It doesn't look good for Christians there either. It would be helpful to know exactly who these rebels are before the brainless journalists of the West throw their support behind them.


Father Anthony Cekada said...

Very interesting post!

This is similar to the "take" on the situation that I saw several weeks ago on a French trad site: That the revolt against Assad is not the "fight for freedom" it's portrayed as in the American press but a sectarian war fought by proxies with lots of outside help.

When it's over, my bet is that (as in Iraq) all the Christians will get run out. Another US-backed triumph for freedom and democracy!

Jason C. said...

"Christians to Beirut, Alawites to the grave," as they say.

Phil_NL said...

Christians in the Middle-East are in a very unenviable position, never more than a few steps away from sometimes deadly persecution. In that light, I wouldn't be surprised if the locals try to find a modus vivendi with the powers that be, even if they are thugs - as the Assad regime is. (for anyone doubting that, there's plenty of documentation of Assad père ravishing the city of Hama with artillary back in the 1980s; far enough into history to be untainted by momentary passions)

This doesn't mean that the opposition will be any better though. The arabic word for freedom - as westerners would understand it - is nonexistent; the rule of law will never take root instead as a form of sharia. Whatever happens, a repressive regime is virtually a given.

Which makes for hard choices for these nuns; perhaps the best that can be hoped and prayed for is that they are not forced to choose between sides that are both evil. Judging from this post, I fear even that hope is largely in vain though.

Matthew Rose said...

The nun wrote of one-sided UN reports "not worthy of that organization."

I submit that they were likely perfectly worthy of that organization: a masonic one-world-government, anti-Catholic organization in its very being.

Thorin said...

Thanks for this reminder of the need to pray for our beleaguered brothers and sisters in the Middle East.

J.G. Ratkaj said...

A success of the terorist turmoils in Syria, backed by the west as a displayed "uprising" for the well known chimera of "freedom" and "democracy", will not only be a scaffold for the remaining rest of oriental christendom but also for the plurality of any reasonable citizen in that country.

Lynda said...

I would prefer to see the unedited version of the nun's statement. I don't trust the reporting of Patsy McGarry or the Irish Times.

Anonymous said...

This is what we call American democracy .. I am a Lebanese Maronite and the nun is right on all that she said.. Here in lebanon we are all afraid if they tople the Assad regime cause it's destructive for us.. and the Arab spring , what a mockery ! How arrogant they are the Americans , they talk about democracy and peace, and all that we got from them, tyranny violance and massacres. I guess this is part of the bigger plan to cast all Christians out of the middle east, the root lands...
Pray for us

NIANTIC said...

It is a great shame that most of the "reporting" of the mass media cannot be trusted. Those who own and/or control the media have their own agenda and interests. They make sure that a story is told in a way that advances their agenda and goals. If that means editing the story, distorting the story and lying by "quoting un named sources" and by stating that "there are many who say,who think or believe" etc., then so be it. The end justifies the means and truth be damned. Even in our own so called "free" society ruled by dictatorial professional politicians, media moguls and deities of the "arts and entertainment world", we have to dig deep in order to find the truth of the matter at hand.
The world has sold its soul to the devil.
We as faithful Catholics have a duty to call them out, call evil and its perpetrators what they are, evil. I deeply dislike the wishy washy goody goody "we hate the sin but love the sinner" ditty.

We must pray for the world, we must speak up and speak out, we must support those who share and promote our faith conviction. We must encourage out bishops and priests to be fearless and forceful to the tune of "damn the torpedoes and pass the ammunition". Finally, we have to trust and believe that God is still, and always will be, fully in control. Justice will be done and His Kingdom will reign supreme. Pray that we remain strong and unafraid and be given the crown of eternal life!

LeonG said...

It is time to understand that USA is bent on defending its failing economic supremacy by destabilising nations and together with Saudi Arabia to defend the petrol dollar. After Syria, Iran is next. Libya and so many more are no longer a threat.
However, it is too late as the petrol dollar is heading for a massive decline as Iran trades in other currencies alongside Russia, China, Venezuela and so on.

Rubricarius said...

Thank you for this post which offers an alternative view to the terrible problems in Syria.

Watching coverage on 'Russia Today', which of course has its own particular bias, the news coverage of events in Syria is still much closer to the report of Mother Agnes Mariam .

Kosta63 said...

I wonder who do the Western Powers serve in reality ? I mean what power?

Perhaps, 'the spirit of the world'.
Wealth and material power.

Just ask the Armenians, or Greeks of Anatolia and Cyprus, Copts who are followers of Christ thru St Mark, or Iraqi, Palestinian and Lebanese Christians.

No one comes to their aid.. or cares.

Remember them in your prayers !

Alsaticus said...

This nun Mother Agnes Mariam of the Cross is rather well known as an agent of the Assad dictatorship.
Please folks check out the credibility of those dubious people : the one-sided position of the nun should by itself had you frown upon her tales.

Objective (as far as we can be) analysts and good connoisseurs of Syria say the Syrian Christians have been good "dhimmi" for the Assad Baathist regime during decades. Logically they are seen as enemies like the Alawis by the Sunni opposition and by the Islamist terrorist groups.

We can get ready for a new wave of Christian emigration after the inevitable downfall of the ruthless criminal Assad regime by ruthless and criminal Djihad Salafist armed battalions.

Iraq has been an "excellent" (so to speak) warning for what is ahead of Syrian Christians ; then we can really fear for the Coptic people in Egypt under a Salafist regime when the risk is now high to have one too in Tunisia that was supposedly a "secular" country.

The complete eradication of Christian faith from its Middle Eastern cradle is now programmed.
For that, we can blame 1) the silly blind support of both the USA and Europe to inept dictatorships during 40 years or more 2) the similar blind support to Israël.
With both, we in the West have nurtured the worst possible movement : fanatical islamists ready to maim, torture, stone, crucify, beat up anybody as they do in Northern Mali ... horrifying local Muslims and local imams themselves.


New Catholic said...

Alsaticus, as far as I can tell, she says the coverage is partial and untrue - and this is from the Irish Times, not us. Do you dispute that the coverage has been partial?

Shane said...

Lynda, I heard this nun interviewed on the radio. She said much the same thing as here.

LeonG said...

More reliable evidence.

Janet said...

So: the Assad regime 'is secular and not favorable to Christians' (nor to any religion except secularism--just like our own secular government; this is the inevitable development of secularism, as popes and theologians prior to the Council always pointed out) and the rebels will not be favorable to Christians either, and a third way is needed. May I say, regarding American politics, that we also need a third way in which we form the necessary alliances to put forward a program with Christ at the center, and with economic principles derived from distributism, meaning real, broad-based capitalism rather than the system of concentrated ownership under which we are now enslaved. We too need a third way. There is absolutely nothing for us in either platform in either party. Even if we were to manage to end abortion and even the open sale of contraceptives (which is entirely possible, since the fall of population is beginning to hurt manufacturing quarters in ways that are difficult even for them to ignore), it would only result, if the present economic and social system is not reformed, in monstrous abuse of women. I mean even more monstrous than now.

Regarding the secular regime in power in Syria, and those elsewhere, is it clear that Vatican II uncrowned Christ and endorsed the American way, the secular way, the way of 'religous liberty,' and that this, not religion per se, that has put Catholics in the cross hairs? Sincere muslims reject secularism, just as sincere Catholics ought to. I think it was Pius XI who affirmed that where Catholics are in the majority, they should have a Catholic state. How much peace would be advanced and Christian martyrdoms reduced if we would only extend that principle to Muslims where they are in the majority, demanding at the same time the tolerance of Christianity that used to prevail in the region. We would have our shot to Instead, the Counciliar church insists on secularism.

rayrice said...

I have visited Syria several times , while I was studying at Gregorian Pontifical University in Rome. I have traveled the mid-east and can say that no country was as hospitable as Syria. Nowhere was there a soldier carrying a gun. I spent weeks at Deir Mar Musa a sixth centuy monastery. It was visited weekly by busloads of Muslim students who eagerly climbed the 350 steps to hear a lecture by Fr Paolo on Inter-religious dialogue. Their Imans came with them and listened carefully. Local Muslim congregations participated in Holy Week celebrations with dancing and drums.What has happened in two years???Foreign influences have fostered belligerent actions which caused a belligerent reply. The United States seems to be encouraging this , to my regret.

David said...

For everyone's information, the Archbishop of Damascus is going to consecrate Syria to the Immaculate Heart of Mary today. The formula to be used can be found here:

It will be recited by the good Archbishop at 6 pm Damascus time.

In Christ,

Janet said...

May I add that I do not think a third way, as the sister is said to have put forward, is possible in Syria, although it is possible in the US (as it might be in Hungary and which they are attempting without help or even attention from either traditionalists in the US or from the Vatican). The present regime in Syria has come to secularism through the back door, just as we in the US did, with a loose idea of God in our constitution coupled with the idea of religious liberty that gradually gave way to secularism. That has happened also in Syria, but just as important, it cannot be said that it will *not* happen with a new, rebel regime, even though they appear at the moment to be more 'traditional' in their Muslim beliefs. The Muslim faith is liberal insofar as there is no magisterium (nor could ever be) and as such is subject to rapid liberalization. This is happening in every Muslim country right now. Democracy from the West coupled with contraception and abortion will do it--Iran has already reached the birth depths of Europe, and other Muslim countries are close behind--this inevitable liberalization is why the Obama wing of our single-party diktatorship supports the rebel groups in various countries even though they are labeled 'traditional' by the media and are even sometimes dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood etc. The Brotherhood is weak, it will not stand against the forces of Planned Parenthood and Inc. The same thing happened in Europe after the Reformation. Every rebel group wanted the liberalization to end with them, but they couldn't stop it because of the first,catastrophic principle of religious liberty implicit in the Reformation.

But we could do it here, as they are trying in Hungary, if we had a stable Catholic group (not to mention a firm Church, but that's another topic)that was focused on the full Restoration, the Catholic state, even while cooperating with protestant groups that would be happy to roll back our secularism to one which merely recognizes in law and practice some Christian principles in our national culture. This is what Hungary appears to be attempting. I do not know how stable or traditional their Catholic group is--that is, whether they are traditional and call for the Catholic state as their ultimate goal, or liberalized--the Church has not helped at all, which is a key element in their success. Their prime minister specifically begged for 'a stronger Church,' I have a summary of it on my little blog. I'm not sure he knows what he means by that, but he recognizes the lack.

John Rao told me, in private conversation in Kansas City last October at the SSPX annual conference, when I was urging him to help us, to take even one step, to organize such a Catholic political presence in this country, that there was 'nothing that could be done until the Church cleans up the doctrine.' This may be true. Or it might be a cop out. Shouldn't we traditionalists be willing to try--to enunciate Catholic solutions to the problems that face us? It would *so* change the conversation even if it couldn't win. Vatican II forbad us to do this, of course. We are to 'form consciences' only, never suggest legislation. That's part of the denial of the Catholic state, of tradition, of the whole social teaching of the Church, of Quas Primas. That's part of what SSPX is fighting for, and the Kansas City conference was proof they know it. But they don't do anything either. (I think they're busy.)

Janet said...

Well, I forgot, there is a third way possible in Syria, Christ.

Aged parent said...

Alsaticus: If you have evidence to support your statement, it would be helpful if you would share it. But please know that even if what you are saying of this nun is true there are other religious figures saying precisely the same thing. In fact, they are saying much more. That this is Syrian business is a joint operation of the US and Israel has been attested to by Catholic and Orthodox prelates alike. You might want to read what even the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem is saying about this. Google it.

Anonymous at 19:17 says it all, quite eloquently.